Top-Ranked Nebraska Defeats Third-Ranked Stanford Before 10,576 Fans At AVCA/NACWAA Showcase
Aug. 27, 2005
Omaha, Ne - Before the second-largest crowd (10,576) to witness a Stanford women's volleyball match, two of the nation's premier collegiate programs battled from start to finish in the championship match of the AVCA/NACWAA Showcase on Saturday night at the Qwest Center Omaha. In the end, top-ranked Nebraska ended third-ranked Stanford's 16-match winning streak dating back to last year with a 30-23, 31-29, 33-31 decision.
It was the first time in Nebraska school history that the Cornhuskers had defeated a defending national champion. Stanford captured the 2004 NCAA title.
The crowd was also the eleventh largest in NCAA history. Over the two day tournament, 20,606 fans witnessed four matches featuring four of the best teams (#1 Nebraska, #3 Stanford, #4 Hawaii, #5 Penn State) in the country.
A quartet of Stanford players scored in double figures led by Kristen Richards with 13 kills, ten digs and two blocks. Freshman Cynthia Barboza added 12 kills and eight digs while Foluke Akinradewo collected 12 kills and four blocks. Franci Girard tallied ten kills.
Christina Houghtelling, who led the Cornhuskers with 15 kills (also seven digs and five blocks), was voted the tournament MVP. Jordan Larson also added 15 kills for Nebraska (2-0).
'Nebraska is tough to play,' said Stanford head coach John Dunning. 'They have six big blockers, and they are going to give a lot of teams problems. I think Nebraska has a great chance to be in the Final Four. That's where we hope to be. We showed that we are not too far behind.'
In game one, The Cornhuskers jumped to a 6-3 lead, but the Cardinal battled back on several occasions. In fact, the game was tied ten times as both teams tried to establish their dominance. Stanford's first lead of the game occured when Nebraska committed a hitting error to give the Cardinal a 14-13 lead. With the scored tied at 18-18, Nebraska scored five of the next six points to take a 23-19 lead. Following a Stanford timeout, the fiery Cardinal squad went to work and scored three straight points to cut the Nebraska margin to one point. Nebraska then called a timeout, and soon followed with two straight points to take a 25-22 lead. The Cornhuskers then continued to use its tall, frontline strength to collect three kills and two blocks to take game one, 30-23. Houghtelling, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter, tallied nine of Nebraska's 21 kills in game one.
Game two offered another tight struggle between two excellent teams. The game was tied eight times before Stanford mounted a charge scoring four staight points to take a 15-11 lead and expanded it to five points, 18-13. Nebraska regrouped and mounted its own rally, scoring five straight points to tie the match again at 18-18. The teams then jockeyed the lead back-and-forth with the Cardinal taking the lead six times. Stanford was within two points of victory in game two (28-27), but a kill by Larson and a hitting error by Stanford gave the Cornhuskers a 29-28 lead. Stanford tied the game at 29-29 on a kill by Richards, but kills by Larson and Melissa Elmer gave Nebraska the 31-29 decision. In all, the game was tied 20 times in game two.
Nebraska continued its momentum in game three jumping to a 7-3 lead and was looking to pull away for the match victory leading by as many as six points at 23-17. Once again, the Cardinal would not collapse as Stanford tied the game at 25-25. Stanford went ahead, 29-28, but Nebraska scored the next two points to take a 30-29 lead. Barboza tied the match on a kill at 30-30, but then Nebraska went ahead, 31-30, on a Cornhusker block. A Nebraska hitting error tied the game at 31-31, but a Nebraska kill by Sarah Pavan, and a service ace by Larson ended the match.
Barboza and Richards were named to the all-tournament team along with Nebraska's Christina Houghtelling (MVP), Melissa Elmer (Nebraska), Christa Harmotto (Penn State), Sam Tortorello (Penn State), and Victoria Prince (Hawaii).
Stanford, 1-1, will next compete in the Boston College Tournament (Sept. 1-3).
'Stanford is a fighting team that is showing a lot of potential,' said Richards, who tallied 27 kills and 25 digs in the two matches. 'It was really good to see where we are.'
Stanford (1-1) 23 29 31
Nebraska (2-0) 30 31 33
As mentioned earlier, the crowd of 10,576 who watched Stanford play Nebraska in the championship match of the AVCA/NACWAA Showcase on Saturday night was the second largest in school history ... The school record remains 10,792 on Dec. 20, 1997 as Stanford captured the NCAA title against Penn State in Spokane, Wa ... Other top Stanford crowds have included 10,252 in matches against Long Beach State and Penn State at the 1999 NCAA Final Four in Hawaii; and 10,225 on Nov. 2, 1996 at Hawaii ... Friday night in the first round of the AVCA/NACWAA Showcase, a crowd announced at 10.028 watched the Cardinal defeat fifth-ranked Penn State in five games.
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